Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"Top 10 Most-Watched Shows of the Decade"

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

So with all of the holiday magic taking place in this blog over the past month, commenting on other television articles across the internet has fallen by the wayside. One came out at the very beginning of December that I wanted to talk about a little bit. Link to the original article.

So someone has taken the time to look at the top ten most-watched television episodes since 2000. Interesting idea, and I had not ever thought about looking into this. Some of these are really obvious, and others make very little sense to me... which is really what I wanted to address. (and I will be doing so in the opposite order of the original)

One thing before I start... I was really surprised by the dates... HALF of them are from 2000, and none since early 2007.

10. Spin City Michael J. Fox's finale regular episode (May 24, 2000). I think it makes sense that this one made the list, with 32.8 million viewers. Michael J. Fox was quite a beloved actor for this series and his other works, and with his health problems in the media, people tuned in to see what might have been his final performance.

9. Everybody Loves Raymond Finale (May 16, 2005). It's actually kind of a boring finale... Ray has to have a tonsillectomy and he brushes death. Now, it was a series finale for a long-running show, so of course it will bring a lot of viewers... but I've never understood why that particular show managed to gain such a following. And that episode wasn't even that good.

8. Frasier Season Seven Finale (May 18, 2000). It was the lead-in that brought an audience. After watching Niles pine over Daphne for well over half a decade, this episode brought people back to see how Niles would go on after Daphne was married... he manages to get up the courage to confess his adoration the night before her wedding. Heart-touching and heart-breaking all at once.

7. Who Wants to be a Millionaire week (May 3, 2000). I remember the early days of Millionaire quite well... it was a hot new gameshow when my now-husband and I began dating. And that's exactly why it makes this list... the hype was grand... the stakes were high... there was often someone from a town you've been to... it was the first major new gameshow in years... and Regis Philbin was the host. (Sidenote, did you see this craziness on Wheel of Fortune the other night??)

6. Grey's Anatomy Post-Superbowl Episode (February 5, 2006). Shows after the Superbowl often have large audiences, but bombs and lesbian scenes certainly helped maintain the football audience. I knew that this show had to come to fame at some point, and although I still pride myself on having never seen an episode, from the synopsis I can see why this one was seen by so many.

5. American Idol Season Six Premiere (January 16, 2007). This was the episode that introduced the world to Sanjaya. Apparently this was the height of the show's popularity (I only really paid attention back when Clay Aiken was the golden boy), and I think the author hit the nail on the head when he noted that each season brought more and more of an audience back then.

4. ER episode where Lucy dies (February 17, 2000). This was before I began watching the show religiously, so I can't quite appreciate why this episode was such a draw at the time. However, I always had a crush on Noah Wyle, so it's easy to believe that when he and Lucy were critically injured, it only makes sense that 39.4 million people would tune in to make sure that nothing happened to our beloved Dr. Carter.

3. Joe Millionaire season finale (February 17, 2003). This is the entry that surprises me the most. The show was an interesting premise at first, but who wants to watch people get lied to and then just stare at the reactions? The show pretty much died afterward. But yeah, I can see why 40 million people wanted to see what would happen when a fake-millionaire chose a wife and then announced his true identity.

2. Survivor: Borneo finale (August 23, 2000). D@mn Survivor. I had really hoped that it wouldn't make the list, especially so high up!! But it's here, and the popularity of reality television became real. I'm surprised that so many people bothered to watch this, but since the show was still young, the true appeal might have been the idea that the winner wasn't "scripted."

1. Friends finale (May 6, 2004). This comes as no surprise to me. The finale was actually the second episode I ever saw (but I didn't remember a minute of it), since my best friend and I were over at another friend's house and that person loved the show (and yes, I've told this story before). And possibly that's part of the key to why this episode had fifty-two-and-a-half million viewers... the show had been around for ten years, and its fame probably brought quite a few first-time watchers just to see what all the fuss was about (this happened the FIRST time 7th Heaven ended as well... people tuned in for the send-off, and those involved with the show misinterpreted this as genuine interest in the show, LoL).
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